Roadblocks were a regular sight throughout Massachusetts over the holiday weekend - and they will continue to be through the end of the year.
Massachusetts State Police reported that over the Thanksgiving weekend --Friday and Saturday evenings in particular -- the agency mounted an aggressive series of saturation patrols and checkpoints throughout the Commonwealth.
Canton OUI lawyers understand there were 21 OUI arrests issued at that one location alone, and another 350 citations were issued by roving patrols on routes 195 and 24.
The officers who were patrolling in that area reportedly arrested an additional 13 drivers for DUI, as well as eight other arrests made for offenses not related to impaired driving.
Some of those offenses included operating vehicles at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. There were even a handful who were allegedly traveling faster than 100 miles per hour. One was traveling 125 miles per hour, according to troopers.
One allegedly intoxicated driver was hurt in a head-on collision Friday evening. We don't know if anyone else was hurt, but he was allegedly driving in the wrong direction.
Troopers were quoted by local media in Canton and in Boston as saying they plan to be out again this coming weekend with another planned sobriety checkpoint, and we can likely expect several more through the end of the year.
What's important for motorists to understand is that an arrest is not a conviction. And even if you had consumed alcohol or some other substance before you got behind the wheel, the case is not a slam dunk for prosecutors. Here's why:
During a Massachusetts roadblock, officers don't have the benefit of observing your driving. They can't say you were being erratic or reckless - because you have been funneled into a line along with all the other motorists. There is no probable cause for your stop.
As a result of this, these checkpoints tend to rely heavily on field sobriety test results, which are notoriously unscientific and inaccurate. Cases involving drug use are also more difficult to prove. That's because drugs can't be measured in a standard, alcohol breathalyzer test, and substances tend to have varied effects on people.
And finally, roadblocks must adhere to very strict rules, or risk running afoul of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. When agencies fail to follow these guidelines to the letter, resultant arrests may not stand up in court. For example, officers have to determine ahead of time what strategy they will use to stop cars. They can't simply do it at random. If they do end up pulling over cars at random, your attorney can argue that it's a form of unreasonable search and seizure.
Given all of this, simply pleading guilty - without the advice of an experienced attorney - shouldn't even be an option. Many drunk driving arrests result in not guilty verdicts, and this is never truer than when dealing with charges stemming from a law enforcement roadblock or sobriety checkpoint in Massachusetts.